Each type of immune system cell has its own special function and must work together with other types to fight disease effectively. Because there are many different types of cells that make up the immune system, an error in any one of them can disrupt our immune defenses. Depending on the cell and the type of error that occurs, more than 80 different forms of PI diseases are possible. Some are severe, while others cause few or no symptoms. Having any of them makes it easier to get infections and other medical conditions. More boys than girls have PI, and first symptoms often begin in infancy or later in childhood.
Primary care doctors who suspect a patient has a problem with the immune system will run screening tests. If those tests indicate the person's immune system is not functioning normally, the doctor will consult with a special kind of doctor called a clinical immunologist. The immunologist can run special blood tests to find out the exact type of PI disease and how best to treat it. Other experts the doctor may consult include pulmonologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, and hematologists.
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